Thursday, November 09, 2006

Photos From The Attic - Part Seven

Part One of this story can be found here.

I've often heard the phrase 'felt like I was hit by a truck' but let me tell you, when referring to anything other than actually being hit by a truck, try using something else to describe how you felt. I had to learn the hard way that only being hit by a truck actually feels like it.

I learned there are some things you forget from when you're a kid. My mistake was forgetting my Green Cross Code: look left, look right, look left again. Listen and cross when it is clear. You see, the part that they left out of my lesson way back when was this: when you're close enough to smell the thing you've been searching for the past few weeks, don't just rush out into the road without looking both ways.

Foley had been within an arm's length. I mean, I was about to touch him, he was looking at me as I called his name and then, bam, nothing, blackness. The pain came later.

There's no telling what came immediately after I was hit. Doctors say I was lucky the vehicle wasn't travelling too fast, that there was an ambulance at the scene, countless medical staff available to tend to me on account of the senior citizens' home. I don't feel lucky. I feel cheated.

All the time I lie here, a drip in my arm, catheter in place, plaster covering a good proportion of my body, wires for this, for that and who knows what else, I feel cheated. All of this keeping me alive, all of this mending what was broken. The miracles of modern science. All this and no one can tell me what happened in that jungle, what my Gramps saw. There's no one left to ask now.

The police, they came. Two officers. We went through the routine. They knew I wasn't going to do a runner; even if I did, they suspected I wouldn't get far. That remark drew a chuckle from the younger policeman that even my glare couldn't suppress. If I'd been in his shoes I would've done the same, which is what made me despise him more. I could do nothing about it. Once they'd ascertained I had nothing to do with Foley's death, they weren't all the interested. Except my mute driver. Did I know where he was? What did he look like? Licence plate details? I gave them what I could. I might have neglected to mention any other person, but I was still in shock to find out that Foley had dropped dead there and then on the lawn out front, his heart stopping as the fire truck mowed me down.

My last chance gone in a clutch of the chest, in an agonising cry. My last chance disappearing into bulging eyes and reddened face. It was all I could think about as I stared at the flaking paint on the ceiling of the ward, as I studied the web of cracks spreading from each corner. I had no visitors, no flowers or cards, I only had a photograph, the same one I'd retrieved all those weeks ago from the attic. Only now it had my blood on it. Only now it showed ghosts.

I even hated myself for a moment, believing that I'd caused his death, that I only had myself to blame for his heart attack. All ifs and buts. Truth was, so the police said, he was practically ready to go, he'd had a scare only the night before. He was a dead man shuffling, they said. I wanted to smile at their jokes, but they didn't know what was at stake and I didn't want them fishing about, trying to pick clues from the debris of "just another road traffic accident". I didn't want them getting in my way.

I was lucky that I'd been comatose for most of my time in hospital. My casts were due off in a matter of days. I'd be out again within a week - they needed the beds for those with decent medical insurance. I could recuperate at home, they said. Physiotherapy once a week. I'd be as right as rain, as good as new.

In the days that followed the police visit, I began to plan things again. I knew that he would be about somewhere, that we were in some way inexplicably linked. He might not have a voice, but he could still be made to give me answers I sought.

This story is continued here.


purplesimon said...

Where is this going you might ask?

Well, you're asking the wrong person. I just make it up as I go along.

Here's the next part. There could/should be more at some point.

purplesimon out...

lryicsgrl said...

Oy Vey!!!

Well, yes, I was going to ask; "now what"?
Is it Foley, he is speaking about? Does he plan on visiting a "ghost whisperer"?

Poor guy....a fire truck, no less!!!

Nice to hear from you!

Thanks for the read

lzysusan out......

Tanya said...

You know, Sime, this has a slight Chuck Palahniuk taste to it. I like that taste. I like that every turn I take with you in this story can lead ANYWHERE and I have no idea WHERE that may be. So what if you're making it up as you go along - I am enjoying the ride!

Typo, 6 paragraph: "which it what made" - Perhaps "which is what made"?

Don't worry - Jesus will be back from the desert shortly with stories to tell.

purplesimon said...

Error corrected. Thanks T for pointing it out.

Weird you should suggest Chuck, as I've been reading some of his work just recently. I guess it inspired me!

I am playing this story by ear, listening to comments here and working out how to take the story a little further without compromising what I wanted to achieve with it.

purplesimon out...

Anonymous said...

Hello Si!

I've been busy and away and all of that, but coming on here, midstream of what comes before and certainly what follows, bravo on the whole! You're a gem at issuing your reader hooks.

I love the opening challenge and the rather poetic circumstances surrounding the picture and that Only now it showed ghosts.

And the scramble of the advances in medicine so apparent yet somehow we're unable to settle the mind of Gramps, over his scramble.

And now Foley is dead, and with the cunning line of He was a dead man shuffling we (or I) can picture him.

But I love the tracing of the cracks in the ceiling and I wondered if there was a connection--given your zing at delivering 'hooks'--besides simply viewing them. I was thinking about all of the lines for the drops and the what-have-you; and maybe, the insides as in how does it feel inside to be busted up.

But this is me coming in at the middle. So much time has gone by, I wonder if are you still attending the workshop. And if so, how is that going? Did any of our predictions come true?

As ever,


Anonymous said...

PS: I meant drips not drops, and then to say, "neat profile pic!".

lryicsgrl said...

Hi Simon,
I don't suppose you Brits celebrate the departure of the Mayflower?

Anyway, have a Happy Day in the UK, tomorrow and ever after!